Question: Dear Luise: My wife and I fight constantly. Does that mean anything? We just don’t agree on much and neither of us wants to give in to the other. Sometimes it’s just a bickering kind of thing and sometimes we get really mad and stay mad for a while. We’re always at it in one way or another. Is there anything we can do about this? Sincerely, Matt
Answer: Dear Matt: You don’t sound all that upset by it. I don’t read anything between the lines about either of you giving up on the other. Is that the case? Are you pretty tight…fights or no fights?
If so, you can possibly agree on how much energy you want to continue to expend on this war of yours. Are both of you willing to get help with understanding this dynamic better and maybe getting a handle on it? It can’t be changed with one person’s commitment …it will take two dedicated souls.
Some couples like the spark the arguing. It may even start out to be affectionate. Some of us grew up in families where the norm is what you do. If so, conditioning can play a part in continuing that pattern. Some couples are vying for control and it’s a one-up contest. If real contempt is a factor, you may be in deep guano. Love and respect can be closely related.
Do you feel that it often gets really nasty between you? If that’s the case then anger management may be needed. Beyond that be prepared for the possibility that after counseling you will find that you still like to spar with each other…just not all the time or hurtfully.
There’s a broad spectrum in the area of open confrontation. One couple may really enjoy an argument that “clears the air”, while another may dissolve their vows over a dirty look. I would suggest you get a handle on this, if for no other reason than the fact that it’s bothering you. That’s why you wrote to me, right? Blessings, Luise